'Jaubane Amoni Kore’ Celebrates 25 Years at Kalakshetra in Guwahati
Noted film critic Prantik Deka writes on the grand event that was organised to mark the completion of 25 years of the cult Assamese film 'Jaubane Amoni Kore' at the International Auditorium of the Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra on June 11.
A grand event was organised to mark the completion of 25 years of the cult Assamese film 'Jaubane Amoni Kore' at the International Auditorium of the Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra on June 11. It is worth mentioning that the film, produced and directed by Ashok Kumar Bishaya under the banner of Lakshminarayan Films, was released on June 12, 1998, at a time when the Assamese film industry was in the doldrums, and was heading towards perpetual slump. It required a miracle to cure cases of the doldrums. Then most of the Assamese films released were rather preposterous imitations of Bollywood fare. Bishaya was one of those very few individuals who was optimistic about the future of Assamese cinema.
It was the freshness of approach to the commercial formulae, aligning youth culture and popular music, the freshness of its unknown cast of actors like Barsha Rani Bishaya, Ankur Bishaya, Nikumoni Baruah, Barnale Poojari, Hiranya Das, Niloy Gupta, Uday Shankar, Ashim Baishya, etc, which became the cornerstone of the film.
Interestingly, the film's title was coined from the classic song "Aabegor Bukusa Bobo Moi Nuaru, Jaubane Amoni Kore..." from the 1961 release 'Lachit Borphukan', written and tuned by Khiroda Kanta Bishaya, who also composed the music along with Brajen Barua and rendered by Dipali Barthakur, and this song was re-recorded in the playback voice of Sangeeta Borthakur after almost 37 years in 'Jaubane Amoni Kore'.
At a time when the highest ticket prices ranged between 25 to 30 rupees, the film still grossed an astounding Rs 1 crore and 80 lakh at the box-office! 'Jaubane Amoni Kore' ran for an impressive 25 weeks, with more than 700 shows to its name in Guwahati alone. It was also running successfully at the same time in Nagaon, Jorhat, Tezpur and Dumduma. The kind of enthusiasm and excitement that the film generated among the audience and the public can only be likened to Brajen Barua's classic Dr. Bezbarua (1969) and Nip Barua's Ajali Nabou (1980). A large number of people from small towns and villages crammed into hired buses and travelled to the city to watch the film. The sheer joy and excitement of watching in a single screen hall can never be duplicated!
It has to be mentioned that the filmmakers found it extremely difficult to get theatre halls for the release of the movie then. It was at a time when James Cameron's Hollywood blockbuster 'Titanic' and the Amitabh Bachchan-Govinda starrer 'Bade Miyan Chote Miyan' dominated the box office. As the Assamese film industry was going through a very rough patch with dismal box-office performances, most of the theatre owners in the state refused to take any chances and decided against releasing the film. It was due to the timely assistance of Balwinder Singh, the owner of Guwahati's Vandana Cinema, now demolished, who came to its rescue and generously agreed to release the film. The film's premiere show was held at the Vandana Cinema Hall on June 11, 1998.
The film's enormous success gave rise to a new wave of local filmmakers and artistes, who began to rekindle some kind of a renaissance in Assamese cinema. The faith of audience, investors and theatre owners was finally restored.
A number of artistes, technicians, musicians, singers and cine-journalists associated with the film were felicitated at the silver jubilee event. A number of artistes and choreographers, including Barsha Rani Bishaya, Ankur Bishaya, Barnale Poojari, Hiranya Das, Niloy Gupta, Uday Shankar, Ashim Baishya, Joly Borah, Chandana Kaushik Bishaya, Ajoy Malakar, Naina Singh, Zin Rini Baruah among others, regaled the audiences with their dances to the popular songs from the film 'Jaubane Amoni Kore' and other films, directed by Ashok Kumar Bishaya. On the occasion, a book, edited by Bipul Sarma, titled Khiroda Kanta Bishaya 'Jeewan Kriti Aru Rasanawali' (Volume 1), brought out with the intention of introducing a prolific poet, lyricist, composer, music director, playwright, actor, renowned social activist and Ashok Kumar Bishaya's father Khiroda Kanta Bishaya to the new generation, was released by eminent author, publisher and Padma Shri Awardee Dr Surjya Kanta Hazarika, noted actress Moloya Goswami, eminent litterateur Anuradha Sharma Pujari, noted actress Mridula Baruah, Chairperson of Assam State Film Finance & Development Corporation Simanta Sekhar and President of the Birth Centenary Celebration Committee of Khiroda Kanta Bishaya, Kailash Sharma.
The event also paid tribute to a number of departed souls who worked in the film, with images edited together into a montage, which was shown on the occasion. They were Khiroda Kanta Bishaya (lyricist), Bibhuranjan Choudhury (the artist who gave voice to the film's devotional hymn in praise of Lord Vishnu – Shantakaram Bhujagashayanam), Pabitra Kumar Deka (screenplay adviser), Siva Prasad Thakur, Indra Bania, Lakhi Borthakur, Shaila Baruah, Badal Das, Mainu Majinder Baruah (acting), Ajan Barua (cinematography), Shambhu Gupta (story writer), Anjan Kalita (chief assistant director/screenwriter), Achyut Kumar Bhagawati (assistant/screenwriter), Dipak Dutta (makeup) and Gopal Sarma (Advocate).
The event, hosted by popular artistes Nikumoni Barua, Jayanta Das and Barsha Rani Bishaya, also saw the formal announcement of 'Jaubane Amoni Kare - 2, which will be directed by Ashok Kumar Bishaya.